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The ins and outs of adoption in California

Families seeking to adopt can be aware of the different types of adoption in California and what they involve.

There are a lot of reasons why a California family may want to adopt a child. Those who are looking into adoption may not realize, however, that there are a few different ways in which adoption happens in the state. The main distinction is between stepparent/domestic partner adoption and independent, international, or agency adoption. There are also some details people should know about what is involved in each type of adoption.

What are the three less common types of adoption?

The three adoption types other than stepparent adoption all result in a child getting new legal parents, with the previous parents losing all parental rights. If the child was born in another country, international adoption is the process followed. If an agency, such as the California Department of Social Services, is involved, it is known as an agency adoption. The third choice, independent adoption, does not necessarily end the previous parents’ rights. This type is an agreement between the adopting and existing parents, and does not involve any agencies.

What is stepparent adoption?

In the most common type of adoption in the state, a birth parent and step parent aim to give the stepparent parental rights. A stepparent adoption to confirm parentage is another type of stepparent adoption that is used when the birth and step parents were married during the child’s birth. For either of these, there are some specific forms that are filled out and submitted with the court. One thing to keep in mind with this type of adoption is that it will end the parental rights of the child’s other birth parent.

How to complete a stepparent adoption?

There are some specific steps that need to be completed before a stepparent adoption can be validated. A hearing is required by the court, and must be attended by the child, the custodial parent, and the stepparent. In order to schedule this hearing, a Stepparent Adoption report needs to be completed, and a home visit will take place with the Department of Social Services.

Before all this happens, the biological parent who will be giving up custody needs to consent. Sometimes the other parent will not want to give consent. In these cases, it may be necessary to file a petition to terminate that person’s parental rights. There are different forms to fill out, depending on individual circumstances.

Those in California seeking to adopt a child may need some help navigating the complicated legal processes and multitude of forms and petitions. They may find it helpful to consult an attorney in the local area who is an experienced practitioner of family law.